On Tasso in Prison by Eugene Delacroix

The poet in his cell, unbuttoned, sick,

Beneath his frantic foot a manuscript,

takes measure with a terror-haunted gaze

of giddy stairs that have his soul amazed.

A drunken laughter almost can be heard

to lead his reasoning towards the absurd;

while Doubt surrounds him, Fear, the imbecile,

the multiform, encircles him at will.

This genius locked in a filthy space,

these cries, these spectres swarming through the place

and whirling to their spot behind his ear,

this dreamer, sleepless from the horrors here,

surely depicts the soaring soul who falls

into the Real, smothered within four walls!

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